The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Greek system bigger than reported

Well it is that time of year again. The time of the year when Tory Burch becomes that much richer and the cargo shorts go into the bonfire. The time of the year when all of the so-inclined students of Southern Methodist University come back to school one week early for rush. Rush is an SMU tradition, for both better and worse. The storied houses of Sorority Row echo with the cheers of the sororities. The brick buildings that line SMU Boulevard bustle with the boyish bravado of the initiates. There is a spirit of hope and excitement that fills a cold January week every year.

There are few things that bring students back to school early. Although I am looking forward to seeing friends again, I still hesitate when I think about all of the impending exams and papers. All of this anticipation is cast aside for the most important date in the fraternity and sorority calendar, Rush Week. Rush Week is where students audition for their social standing for the next three and a half years. They all hope for the “top-tier,” whether fraternity or sorority. It is a little absurd that admittance into a certain Sorority or Fraternity decides how a person will be viewed in University life, but that is the significance of Rush Week. Everyone puts their best face on so that they can be safe. Even the official SMU website has recommendations for looking your best, easily searchable advice to dressing well.

Southern Methodist University reports that 41 percent of our undergraduates participate in the fraternity and sorority community. If this were true, it would be a significant group, but a minority one. However, this number is misleading, mostly because it includes the first semester freshmen, excuse me, first-years. This group, which is the largest in the school’s history, presents a problem in presenting the true statistic. If the freshman class were excluded from this number, we would see the more factual number. I think it is safe to say the true percentage of fraternity and sorority members is much higher than reported. It seems the SMU administration wants to downplay the importance of Greek life on campus. At the same time the administration must come to terms with the fact that Greek life is everywhere and important. Nowhere is this clearer than Rush Week.

I am going to qualify that last paragraph. Certainly there are benefits to the Greek community and they are for another article. But, Rush Week highlights the struggle the administration has with the fraternity and sorority communities. Our Greek life is one of the biggest draws to Southern Methodist. We have a rich and storied tradition of a strong Greek community and that has been excellent for the school. At the same time though, the school is often fighting to keep that community under control.

As Rush Week draws to a close and bids are handed out, there is going to be a whole range of emotions. Some will delight in the chapter they desired and some will dismay in their denial. Soon the hyper-allegiance will slightly fade and the campus will return to normal, but this week will retain its significance. As long as social life goes through Greek life, Rush Week will still be the most important time of the year.

Kevin is a sophomore majoring in international studies.

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